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Classic Panama

Hold onto your Sombrero Pintao as you embark on a nine-day adventure through the pearls of Panama. Start in the lively capital of Panama City and see how past and present merge, then head upriver to visit the Indigenous Embera people. Spend a morning learning about their sustainable way of life and village traditions, before travelling west to the artisan hubs of Penonome and Chitre. Sample favourites from Panamanian cuisine and visit workshops and museums that highlight local pottery and the real Panama hat. Finish your journey back in the capital with a cruise along the Panama Canal and toast to an incredible adventure.

9 days, from


per person


12 people max


Trip code: QBKA
Style: Comfort
Theme: Explorer


Countries Visited:  Panama
Accommodation: Hotel (8 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle , canoe , boat
Included Meals:

  • 8 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • 2 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Make an unforgettable visit to the Embera people – an Indigenous community who will welcome you with song and dance. Share a meal with the locals that showcases how they live in harmony with the environment.

  • Cruise along one of humanity’s greatest engineering marvels on a tour of the Panama Canal. Learn how the waterway was crafted and the process used to raise or lower the ships that pass through it.

  • Sample local Panamanian delicacies during a cooking demonstration in Penonome. Your host will talk you through all the tips and tricks needed to make favourites like Panamanian tortillas.

  • Learn about crafting a real Panama hat, also known as a Sombrero Pintao from a local maker in the town where they originated.

  • Visit a mask workshop in the city of Chitre, where these intricately detailed costumes are used to represent the devil in a range of religious and traditional festivals.

  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects. Donations help them provide local employment opportunities and tackle climate change one tree at a time as they restore forests across 10 different countries.


Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Panama City

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Panama. Your adventure begins in Panama City, Central America's glitziest capital, with a welcome meeting at 6 pm at your hotel. If you arrive early, you might like to take a stroll through the rainforest in the Metropolitan Nature Park. After the meeting, join your fellow travellers and leader for an included dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2: Panama City

Today, uncover more of Panama City as you embark on a leader-led sightseeing tour of the capital. Start with a visit to Panama La Vieja – a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site dating back to 1519. See the remaining sections of the Old Panama Cathedral and climb to the top of the bell tower for views back to the Panama City skyline. Then, stroll through the historic Casco Antiguo (Old Town). While you're there, stop in at the Panama Canal Museum for a look at the history of one of the world’s greatest engineering feats. In the afternoon, you’ll visit the Museo de Mola which celebrates mola – an intricately detailed decoration that forms part of traditional woman’s clothing – as well as Plaza Francia, which highlights the role the French played in the Panama Canal’s construction. The evening is yours to spend how you like – be sure to ask your leader for dinner recommendations, as they will always know the best spots.

Day 3: Panama City / Embera community visit

After an early breakfast, drive north from Panama City on your way to visit the Embera people – a nearby Indigenous community. To get there, you’ll board dugout canoes and sail upriver with members of the Embera community. When you arrive, the village leader will give you a traditional warm welcome. Learn about the local lifestyle and traditions through music and dance performances, while lunch gives you a new appreciation for the community’s food sourcing and traditions. After lunch, you’ll be taken on a garden tour and taught about medicinal plants and herbs. After, be welcomed into a local’s home to see their living spaces. Don’t miss the opportunity to purchase some handmade crafts and support the community, too! Say your farewells and travel back downriver by canoe, before driving back to your accommodation. You have a free evening to cap off a hugely rewarding day.

Day 4: Penonome

Depart Panama City after breakfast, hitting the road toward Penonome. There’ll be an optional stop along the way for a batido (fruit shake), before arriving in Penonome around lunchtime. Located right in the centre of the country, the town will be your base for the next two nights. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk, then for lunch you’ll be shown all the tips and tricks of Panamanian food at a local eatery before tucking into a delicious meal. The rest of the day is then free for to you explore as you please. You might like to take a tour to the relaxing Playa Santa Clara beach, the hidden Yayas Falls or a nearby organic farm. For dinner, maybe sample some more local delicacies with your fellow travellers.

Day 5: Penonome

This morning, enjoy a relaxed breakfast, then make you way to a workshop to learn all about Sombrero Pintao (the iconic and original Panama hat). Unlike the ‘Panama hats’ that are originally from Ecuador, the Sombrero Pintao are woven through with black and white designs that almost look painted on. A local artisan will teach you all about their craft – don’t miss the chance to try one on for size! The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy the town and surrounding area, giving you the chance to explore anything you may have missed yesterday.

Day 6: Chitre

Say goodbye to Penonome and head south to the city of Chitre. Arrive around lunchtime, then head out for an orientation walk with your leader (who will also be able to point you in the right direction for a good lunch spot). After a bite to eat, rejoin your fellow travellers and visit Museo de Herrera Fabio Rodriquez. Like Penonome, Chitre is also known for its artisanal crafts – though here the speciality is pottery. Museo de Herrera Fabio Rodriquez contains an extensive collection of artifacts dating back to 5000 BC, while also providing context about Panama’s natural history. Head to a mask workshop for a glimpse at the country’s cultural heritage – elaborate masks and costumes are a feature of many festivals in Panama. The afternoon is free for you to continue exploring Chitre.

Day 7: Panama City

After breakfast, visit a local leather workshop to gain an understanding of another of Chitre’s many crafts. Then, it’s back on the road to Panama City. There’ll be a stop for lunch on the way before you arrive back in the capital in the early afternoon. Enjoy free time for the rest of the day – after the drive, you might like to stretch your legs on a walk along the city’s gorgeous waterfront promenade, the Cinta Costera (causeway).

Day 8: Panama City / Panama Canal

Get ready for a special day cruising along a section of the Panama Canal. The iconic, artificial waterway connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, allowing for an easier trade route than the Drake Passage at South America’s southernmost tip. As you sail, you’ll learn about the process required to either lift ships above sea level, or lower them to sea level, as well as the geography of the area. This is a chance to get up close to an impressive piece of human engineering. Once the tour’s complete, head back to your accommodation in the late afternoon. In the evening, join your leader and travel companions for a final farewell dinner.

Day 9: Panama City

With no planned activities today, you can depart at any time. If you would like to spend some more time in Panama City, just speak to your booking agent ahead of time.